Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I wish …

I fell into the trap of the “I wishes “ today.  This is a trap that Satan uses to defeat Christians.  It causes us to focus on things that either can’t happen or aren’t currently happening.  It wastes our time and makes us inefficient.  It makes us be discontented with where the Lord has us today.  Our focus is on ourselves and not on the Lord.

Philippians 4:12 –13 ”I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

To be content means to be satisfied with what I am and what I have.  My life is completely in God’s control.  He is all knowing, all powerful, all present, and all loving.  I can trust God and I can trust that He wants the best for me.

It’s hard to keep all that in mind when bad stuff happens.  I don’t understand why some things happen to me and not to others.  I also don’t understand why some things happen to others and not to me.  How does God choose who He spares?  How does He decide who gets cancer?  Who gets hit by a drunk driver?  These are all things I don’t understand and I may never understand. 

All I know is I trust that God loves me and wants the best for me. 

So, when the “I wishes” come along, I need to replace them with I am satisfied, I am content, I am trusting God.

Good night. 


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Phil 2: 1-4

I don’t usually use The Message but I found this interpretation of these verses to be refreshing.

“If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”  Philippians 2:1-4 The Message

Have a great week.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Burn Out or Rust Out

I had a hard week at work.  Lots and lots to do.  Three days this week I stayed at school for about 12 hours.  By the time I got to Friday, there wasn’t much left to give.  I struggled just to get through the day.
I was reminded of a sermon I heard one time that revolved around Romans 12:11 “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”  The pastor made the statement that the Christian may burn out but he must not rust out.  He was trying to motivate people to get involved in ministry.

However, as I thought about that this week, I realized that was terrible advice.  Whether you burn out or rust out, you are out.  Out of what --- out of the race, out of your pursuit to become Christlike, you've lost your ability to make a difference.  (You have not lost your salvation.)  When you burn out from exhaustion, you are tense, angry, demanding, and resentful.  You end up doing more harm than good for the kingdom.

So again, I am back to the need for pulling away and finding some solitude.  Jesus did it.  I need to do it.

As I looked at my schedule it was hard to find time.  I started walking my dog at 6:00 am (before I leave for work).  It’s good for him.  It’s good for me – both physically and spiritually.  It’s quiet and peaceful and starts my day out with calmness.

Take care of yourself.  You can’t minister to others if you are burned out.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Still trying to “Be Still”

I am continuing to look at the idea of “being still” or in other words silence. What happens when we are silent?

Proverbs 2 tells about all the things that if we cease, God will reveal.

The opposite is also true. If I refuse to “be still”, then I may gain some knowledge about God but I will not “know” God. It is through times of silence and stillness that He speaks and reveals Himself.

Romans 8:16 (The Message) “God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children”

Proverbs 4:23 (The Message) “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts.”

Above everything else, guard my heart. Preserve it and keep it sensitive towards the Lord. From it will come decisions and characteristics that will define who I am and what I want to do. God will transform my heart to be more like Him and to more fully reflect His character. Sustained periods of quietness are necessary in order for that to happen.

My responsibility is to find time away from the TV, the computer, the iPod, and everything else that makes “noise” in my life. Alone and quiet in stillness and solitude, listen and wait for God to lead.

As I am still before God, the problems that weighted me down become smaller and smaller before God. He calms my spirit. He frees me from worry. He gives a sense of peace.

Most people are afraid of silence. They see it as empty and hollow. It is like a great hole that they have fallen into. They count the seconds until the silence will be over.

These kinds of people are shallow. They have no depth to their lives. As a Christian, we need that depth. We need to be deeply and intimately known by God. It is from this depth that ministry flows. You can’t reach out to others unless you have something to give.

Make an effort to find time to “be still”.  You won’t regret it.


Friday, August 20, 2010

What would you do?

There are some things that I am very skeptical about.  One of those is people who approach me and ask me for money.  I had taken my daughter to the pet store after school today to get some supplies.  When we exited the store, a lady approached me.  She seemed nice but sad and depressed.  She was probably in her mid-30s.  She said that she was $5 short on her rent at the Extended Stay across the road.  She said that she and her 11 year old were not going to have any place to stay if she couldn’t come up with $5.  She apologized for bothering us but said she didn’t know what to do.

I looked in her eyes and I believed her.  I dug out my wallet and I asked her if she was sure the money was going to go for rent.  She assured me that it was.  I gave her all I had - $7.  ( I never carry much cash.)  She was very grateful.  I thought she was going to cry.  As we walked to our car and made our way across the parking lot, I watched her walk across the road and back to the Extended Stay.

I have no way of knowing if she was being honest with me or not.  I don’t know if she needed rent money or if she was just panhandling.  I only know that I did what I thought was right. 

You never know who God will put in your path to help.  Look for them and look for opportunities to bless others.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Couldn’t sleep.  Thought I’d blog.  Why do I blog….some reasons are to keep a record of what God has been teaching me, reminding me, reinforcing in my life.  So I can read it and be encouraged and so I can share those thoughts and ideas with others.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts about eternity this week.  School started on Monday but it was also Monday when we lost one of our fellow teachers to cancer.  We also lost one of our school’s alumni this week to a tragic accident.  So, lots of news and none of it would be considered good news.

Everyone has to make their decision on what they believe about eternity.  I think it is this belief that determines how people live while here.

The Bible doesn’t give a lot of details about heaven.  We know it is a wonderful place.  We know we want to go there.  What else do I know…

Here’s a few things I know about eternity.

** As a believer, I can face death without fear

Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

1 Corinthians 15:54-57
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

** As a believer, I will enter the Lord’s presence at death.

2 Corinthians 5:8
Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.

Philippians 1:22-23
But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.

** As a believer, I will dwell with God forever.

Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

** As a believer, Jesus is preparing a special place for me in heaven.

John 14:1-3
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

** As a believer, heaven will be a better place for me than earth.

Philippians 1:21
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Revelation 14:13
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”

** As a believer, I will receive a crown in heaven.

2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

I’m sure I’ve left out a few things.  What do you think of when you think of eternity or heaven?


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

You are God Alone

I had this song on my mind today…  Listen to the music but pay attention to the words.

God is unchangeable, unshakeable, unstoppable.



Saturday, August 14, 2010

Conversation with God

Saturday morning is not a normal time for me to write.  I love sleeping in on Saturday mornings.  I look forward to it all week.  I stay up too late and get up too early throughout the week and so Saturday is my time to “catch up” on my rest. 

This morning I woke up about 7:30 with all kinds of things racing through my mind that I needed to get done.  I couldn’t believe that I was awake.  I’ve been putting in long hard days the last two weeks at work.  The last thing I wanted to do was get up early on Saturday.

However, as I laid in bed and thought of all I needed to accomplish, another thought kept coming in my mind.  That was, “Be Still.”  God does not speak to me in audible voices and yet I knew this was God trying to get me to focus. 

If it had been an audible conversation, here’s how it would have gone:

Be still

I don’t have time to be still.  I have the laundry to do, my kitchen is a mess, and the house needs cleaned.

Be still

Beth needs highlighters.  I need to take her and make sure she has all her school supplies.

Be still

Oh, yeah.  I have to reorder her shoes today.  They came and they were too big.

Be still

I forgot to set up the calendars on the network for the teachers to sign up to use the lab.  I’ve got to log onto the network and get that done today. Oh, yeah - lesson plans.  I need to work on those.  Wonder what else I am forgetting to do for Monday.

Be still

God, I don’t have time to be still.  Obviously, I woke up early so I could get more done today.  I need to go shopping and find some new school clothes and I need a haircut.

Be still

We need groceries.  I wonder what Randy wants to eat this week.  I could cook some stuff today and we could eat leftovers each night.  It’s going to be hectic week. 

Be still

I will “be still” later, God.  Right now I need to make a “to do” list.  I have a lot to accomplish today.  I really need to get up and get going.


Okay, you don’t need to yell.  You’ve got my attention.

As I began to focus on God, He began to impress on my mind the need to “be still” not just with my body but with my mind and my heart.  Being still shows my faith and trust are in God.  God is in control of my situation.  God is my source of strength.  Relax.  Be quiet.  Quit worrying.  Do nothing.  Don’t panic.  Cease everything.  Listen to God.  Quiet my heart…… 

Focus on God.  Draw strength from Him.  Allow him to shoulder my burdens and prioritize my life.  I still have things to do today but none of them more important than my time with God.  I shouldn’t allow any of my “to do” list to stress me out.  Things really aren’t as urgent as they seem.  This does not mean I don’t still need to take care of my household responsibilities.  It just means, relax, breathe deep, and let God walk with me through the day.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Going Through the Motions

Proverbs 2: 1 – 5

1My son, if you will receive my words
         And treasure my commandments within you,
2Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
         Incline your heart to understanding;
3For if you cry for discernment,
         Lift your voice for understanding;
4If you seek her as silver
         And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
         And discover the knowledge of God.

I added the bold to the above words.  All of these point to our responsibilities.  If you do these things.  If you are willing to pay the price.  If you are willing to do the hard work.

Then, and only then, you will see what the knowledge of God means.  Then you will understand what it means to know God.  What it means to be in an intimate relationship with the infinite God.

We are to search with diligence and be ready to see whatever it is that God has to show us.  We need to ask God to open our eyes and allow us to see all the things He has for us.

Now let me go back to the verse I looked at last time “progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him,”  (Philippians 3:10)

How do I do this?  I go to church.  I go to Sunday School.  I take notes on the sermons.  I have notebooks full of the notes I’ve taken.  I sing the worship songs.  Isn’t all that enough?

Actually, no. that’s not enough.  Going through the motions is not the same as intimacy with Christ.  I need to prioritize my life so that everything I do puts Jesus first.  I have responsibilities in this relationship.  I need to seek God with my whole heart.  I need to keep my mind and heart open to what God wants for me. 

The lyrics in the video below talk about this idea of just Going Through the Motions